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In 1968, professional tennis entered the Open Era. With the introduction of the four Grand Slam tournaments—U.S. Open, Australian Open, French Open, and Wimbledon—the division between pros and amateurs finally ended. But there was still the matter of male versus female players.

In 1973, Billie Jean King famously beat Bobby Riggs in “The Battle Of The Sexes,” making her the first woman in sports to win $100,000 in a single year. But her plea for gender equality came three years prior when she won the Italian Open and won a mere $600 compared to the male winner, Ilie Năstase, taking home $3,500. The discrepancy prompted her famous quote, “Everyone thinks women should be thrilled when we get crumbs, and I want women to have the cake, the icing and the cherry on top, too.”

King continued championing women’s rights throughout her career and founded the Women’s Tennis Association in 1973. Because of her actions, tennis has slowly closed the gender gap and now male and female players earn the same amount of prize money in each of the four majors; however, a study published in 2021 by British price comparison site found women players still earn roughly 34% less than men.

Stacker ranked the 25 top-earning women’s tennis players of all time, using data compiled by the WTA Tour. Earning totals are current as of Aug. 1, 2022.

Interestingly, the United States leads the way with five total players, while no other country has more than two. Among them is Serena Williams, who alluded to her impending retirement in August 2022 with plans to “evolve away” from the game.

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Arantxa Sanchez Vicario of Spain serves
Simon Bruty // Getty Images

#25. Arantxa Sánchez Vicario

– Career earnings: $16,942,639
– Turned professional: 1985
– Country: Spain

Arantxa Sánchez Vicario started playing tennis at the age of 4, and her dedication paid off. During her 17-year career, the Spanish player won 14 Grand Slam titles, earned a silver and bronze medal in both the 1992 and 1996 Olympics, and won five Fed Cup titles representing Spain. In 1994, the International Tennis Federation named her that year’s World Champion.

Sloane Stephens of the United States poses with a trophy
Elsa // Getty Images

#24. Sloane Stephens

– Career earnings: $16,987,965
– Turned professional: 2007
– Country: United States

Sloane Stephens has had some ups and downs since turning pro in 2007. After rising to prominence in 2013, a foot injury slowed her down in 2016; however, she ended up winning the U.S. Open upon her return in 2017. She also has seven WTA titles under her belt, including one in 2022.

Jelena Jankovic of Serbia returns a shot
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#23. Jelena Janković

– Career earnings: $19,089,259
– Turned professional: 2000
– Country: Serbia

During her 17-year career, Jelena Janković won 15 WTA single titles, as well as two doubles titles. The Serbian player’s most notable performance was winning the 2007 Wimbledon mixed-doubles with her partner Jamie Murray.

Samantha Stosur of Australia looks on after playing her last career singles match
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#22. Samantha Stosur

– Career earnings: $20,024,430
– Turned professional: 1999
– Country: Australia

Samantha Stosur memorably won a Grand Slam singles tournament after defeating Serena Williams at the 2011 U.S. Open, making her the first Australian woman to achieve a Grand Slam singles title since Evonne Goolagong Cawley’s 1980 victory, but it was doubles where she really thrived. In her career, Stosur has won four Grand Slam doubles championships. She notably announced her singles retirement in May 2022 but is still active in doubles.

Justine Henin of Belgium plays a forehand
Quinn Rooney // Getty Images

#21. Justine Henin

– Career earnings: $20,863,335
– Turned professional: 1999
– Country: Belgium

Justine Henin spent 117 total weeks as the world’s #1 player during her 12-year career. The Belgian player also won seven Grand Slam singles titles, 43 WTA singles titles, and a gold medal in women’s singles at the 2004 Olympics.

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Naomi Osaka of Japan celebrates in a Women's Semi Final match
Quinn Rooney // Getty Images

#20. Naomi Osaka

– Career earnings: $21,050,567
– Turned professional: 2014
– Country: Japan

Naomi Osaka is not only the first Asian player to be ranked #1 in singles, but she’s also the youngest player on this list. The 24-year-old has won four Grand Slam singles titles and seven WTA titles since turning pro in 2014.

Elina Svitolina of Team Ukraine smiles with her bronze medal
Clive Brunskill // Getty Images

#19. Elina Svitolina

– Career earnings: $21,418,949
– Turned professional: 2010
– Country: Ukraine

Elina Svitolina has won 16 WTA singles titles since going pro in 2010. The Odessa native also took home the women’s singles bronze medal at the 2020 Olympics, earning Ukraine its first Olympic medal in tennis.

Martina Navratilova of the United States kisses the Venus Rosewater Dish
Bob Martin // Getty Images

#18. Martina Navratilova

– Career earnings: $21,626,089
– Turned professional: 1973
– Country: United States

Martina Navratilova is the only player on this list to turn pro in the ’70s. During her prolific career, the Czech American player spent a whopping 332 total weeks ranked #1 in the world in singles and a record 237 weeks in the top spot for doubles. That makes her the only player in history to top both rankings for more than 200 weeks. Considered one of the best players of all time, Navratilova won 167 WTA single titles and 16 Grand Slams before retiring in 2006.

Steffi Graf of Germany during the Women's Singles Final
Bob Martin // Getty Images

#17. Steffi Graf

– Career earnings: $21,895,277
– Turned professional: 1982
– Country: Germany

Steffi Graf broke all kinds of records during her nearly 17-year career. The German player was ranked #1 in the world for an unbelievable 377 total weeks, which is more than any other player in history. She’s also the only tennis player in history to win a Golden Grand Slam (titles in all four majors plus an Olympic gold medal all in the same year) and holds at least four titles in every Grand Slam. She is married to retired tennis star Andre Agassi.

Lindsay Davenport of the United States lifts the trophy after winning the Wimbledon Ladies Singles Championship
Gary M. Prior // Getty Images

#16. Lindsay Davenport

– Career earnings: $22,166,338
– Turned professional: 1991
– Country: United States

Lindsay Davenport won 55 WTA titles during her career, including three Grand Slams. She also took home a women’s singles gold medal at the 1996 Olympics. She is one of just five women to have held the world #1 ranking four times.

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Karolina Pliskova of The Czech Republic celebrates in her Ladies' Singles Semi-Final match
Julian Finney // Getty Images

#15. Karolína Plíšková

– Career earnings: $23,644,320
– Turned professional: 2006
– Country: Czech Republic

Karolína Plíšková has won 16 WTA singles titles and five doubles in her career. The Czech pro also made the Grand Slam finals twice, though she has yet to win a title.

Ashleigh Barty of Australia celebrates with the Billie Jean King trophy
Clive Brunskill // Getty Images

#14. Ashleigh Barty

– Career earnings: $23,829,070
– Turned professional: 2010
– Country: Australia

Before retiring in March 2022, Ashleigh Barty had an impressive career. She holds 15 WTA singles titles and 12 doubles titles. She’s also won three Grand Slams in singles and one in doubles.

Garbine Murguruza of Spain celebrates a victory
Cameron Spencer // Getty Images

#13. Garbiñe Muguruza

– Career earnings: $24,458,556
– Turned professional: 2011
– Country: Spain

Since turning pro, Garbiñe Muguruza has made quite the name for herself. She’s won 10 WTA singles titles, including the 2021 WTA Finals, and two Grand Slams. She also has five doubles titles.

Kim Clijsters of Belgium plays a backhand
Mark Kolbe // Getty Images

#12. Kim Clijsters

– Career earnings: $24,545,194
– Turned professional: 1997
– Country: Belgium

Kim Clijsters has been playing tennis professionally for more than 20 years. In that time, she’s won 41 WTA singles titles and 11 doubles titles. She’s also won all four Grand Slams (Australian Open and U.S. Open in singles, and Wimbledon and the French Open in doubles).

Martina Hingis during a second round match at the 2006 US Open
Mike Ehrmann // Getty Images

#11. Martina Hingis

– Career earnings: $24,749,074
– Turned professional: 1994
– Country: Switzerland

When Martina Hingis reached all four majors finals (winning three) in 1997, she became the youngest Grand Slam winner in Open Era history at the age of 16. By the time she retired in 2017, the Swiss player had achieved 43 WTA singles titles and 13 doubles titles. She won six total Grand Slams (five in singles and one in doubles).

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Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia celebrates a victory
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#10. Svetlana Kuznetsova

– Career earnings: $25,816,890
– Turned professional: 2000
– Country: Russia

Svetlana Kuznetsova won 18 WTA singles titles and 16 doubles titles in her career. The St. Petersburg, Russia, native also won four total Grand Slams (two in singles and two in doubles).

Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland acknowledges the crowd after a victory
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#9. Agnieszka Radwańska

– Career earnings: $27,683,807
– Turned professional: 2004
– Country: Poland

Agnieszka Radwańska won 20 WTA singles titles and two doubles titles in her career. Though she never won a major, she became the first Polish player in the Open Era to reach a Grand Slam final when she lost to Serena Williams in the 2012 Wimbledon championship. She is also the first Polish woman to win the WTA Finals.

Angelique Kerber of Germany kisses the Venus Rosewater Dish
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#8. Angelique Kerber

– Career earnings: $31,886,468
– Turned professional: 2003
– Country: Germany

Angelique Kerber has won 14 WTA singles titles, including three majors, since going pro in 2003. The Bremen native also took home a silver medal for Germany in singles at the 2016 Olympics.

Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic celebrates with a trophy
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#7. Petra Kvitová

– Career earnings: $34,193,491
– Turned professional: 2006
– Country: Czech Republic

Since going pro in 2006, Petra Kvitová has won 29 WTA singles titles, including two Wimbledon championships. She also won a bronze medal in singles at the 2016 Olympics, representing the Czech Republic.

Victoria Azarenka of Belarus celebrates match point
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#6. Victoria Azarenka

– Career earnings: $34,449,618
– Turned professional: 2003
– Country: Belarus

Victoria Azarenka has done a lot for her native Belarus. She was ranked #1 in the world for a combined 51 weeks, making her the first Belarusian player to top the WTA rankings. She also is the first Belarusian to win a Grand Slam title (she’s a two-time champion in both singles and doubles) and has two Olympic medals, taking home the bronze in singles and gold in mixed doubles at the 2012 games.

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Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark celebrates a victory
Shaun Botterill // Getty Images

#5. Caroline Wozniacki

– Career earnings: $35,233,415
– Turned professional: 2005
– Country: Denmark

Caroline Wozniacki retired in January 2020, but not before making history. After 43 Grand Slam appearances, she was crowned champion at the 2018 Australian Open, making her the first Danish player to win a Grand Slam title.

Maria Sharapova of Russia kisses the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen
Matthew Stockman // Getty Images

#4. Maria Sharapova

– Career earnings: $38,777,962
– Turned professional: 2001
– Country: Russia

Maria Sharapova is one of only six women to complete a career Grand Slam (winning at least one title at each major tournament), with five total championships. She is also the only Russian woman to have done so. Sharapova took home the silver medal in women’s singles at the 2012 Olympics before retiring in February 2020. As a businesswoman, Sharapova has appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank.

Simona Halep of Romania celebrates in her Ladies' Singles final against Serena Williams
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#3. Simona Halep

– Career earnings: $39,663,297
– Turned professional: 2006
– Country: Romania

Simona Halep has been ranked #1 in the world for 64 total weeks and won 23 WTA singles titles, including two Grand Slams, since going pro in 2006. It’s also worth noting that, with the exception of Venus and Serena Williams (who implied her impending retirement in August 2022), Halep is the only player in the top five of this list who is still active on the 2022 WTA Tour.

Venus Williams of the United States celebrates after winning a match point
Cameron Spencer // Getty Images

#2. Venus Williams

– Career earnings: $42,285,378
– Turned professional: 1994
– Country: United States

Venus Williams is considered one of the all-time greatest sports figures. She reached #1 status on Feb. 25, 2002, becoming the first African American woman to achieve the top spot in the Open Era. She has seven Grand Slam singles titles and an Olympic gold medal in singles; however, it’s her and her younger sister, Serena Williams, as a duo that has been truly unstoppable. Together, the Williams sisters have won 14 majors titles and are unbeaten in Grand Slam finals. They also have won three Olympic gold medals as a duo.

Serena Williams celebrates victory during the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships
Clive Brunskill // Getty Images

#1. Serena Williams

– Career earnings: $94,588,910
– Turned professional: 1997
– Country: United States

Serena Williams’ career has been quite remarkable. In addition to her doubles success with sister Venus Williams, the 40-year-old player has 73 WTA single titles, including 23 Grand Slams (the most in the Open Era). In 2002-2003, she won all four majors, achieving a non-calendar Grand Slam and career Grand Slam. That dominance has translated into Serena earning more than double in her career than any other female tennis player. She has also earned more money than every male pro outside of the big three—Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Roger Federer. After more than 20 years in the game, Serena announced her plans to “evolve away” from the sport on Aug. 9, 2022, presumably after the 2022 U.S. Open.

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This story was written by Stacker and has been re-published pursuant to a CC BY-NC 4.0 License.

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